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Who's conning who? 

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Confidence

Edward Burns stars as the young but talented grifter Jack Vigs. The film begins at the end, and through flashback we are shown the story which has brought us to this point. Vigs recounts a small-scale grift that got him caught up with the bigger fish when it turns out the money he has stolen belongs to big crime boss 'The King' played by Dustin Hoffman. To repay the debt our hero offers to carry out the biggest grift of his career on the king's behalf, and the victim will be the king's powerful arch-enemy. Vigs recruits a team including blonde pocket thief Lily played by Rachel Weisz, who also becomes his love interest. The plan encounters various hitches which James Foley interestingly links by a sense of chance and fate, and the interwoven sub-plot keeps the pace of the film at an exciting level. Andy Garcia provides a good performance as the ageing FBI agent ever on Vigs' trail, and Donal Logue and Luis Guzman inject a little humour into the film with their portrayals of slovenly cops turned bad.

Parts of the plot are perfunctory and sometimes guessable (think femme fatale Lily and Vigs in wallet pick-pocketing and wits battle with heavy underlying sexual tension), but the constant unexpected plot twists right up until the final scene keep us guessing. Characters double and triple cross each other leaving us suspecting everyone and trusting no one - which is unsurprisingly Vigs' motto. Money lust is also high on Vigs' and the film's moral agenda, with every character showing a susceptibility to greed at some point in the narrative.

The film's hip and arty style set it apart from others in the same genre with which it is compared (ie 'the sting' and 'the grifters'). Foley chooses interesting camera angles particularly in scenes with intense interaction between characters, and the dialogue is sharp. Performances to watch out for come from Hoffman as the uncomfortably slimy 'King' suffering from ADHD and prone to unpredictable vicious behaviour, and from Weisz as street thief turned con-artist under Vigs' wing.

This is a slick con movie worth seeing if you're a fan of the genre, but also if you like to be perplexed by plenty of plot twists that will leave you puzzling out the movie after you've left the cinema.


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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)